Tag Archives: master

A Question of Influence

Guru-and-Sishya

I was recently asked a question about the importance of having a spiritual teacher. This provided a nice opportunity to explain in some detail that, yes, according to Yoga teaching it was important for a person wanting to advance in spiritual understanding to have a teacher.

In modern times however, the concept of a spiritual teacher is oftentimes unfortunately viewed with significant misgivings if not absolute dread. One of the major reasons for this kind of reticence is arrogance – not wanting to accept that someone else may know more than I do. Another reason is that many people have been put off by their knowledge or experience of charlatans of one stripe or another.

The matter of arrogance is something that each of us should try to become aware of in our own lives, and hopefully to see it as something that is undesirable. It’s not such an easy thing to do, but nevertheless we should try as much as possible to overcome our arrogance otherwise we will surely be deprived of the opportunity to gain spiritual knowledge. One aid in overcoming arrogance is to appreciate that in any field of knowledge or expertise we need a teacher who can provide us with information about that particular field. Continue reading A Question of Influence

A Spectacular View

Credit : Felicia M. Flickr
Image : Felicia M. Flickr

Many people would have had the experience of being lost at least once in their lives, especially those of us who have visited a foreign country.  It’s usually not a problem though because we can easily consult a map.  Even better than that though – if we can get the help of a person who is familiar with that foreign place (a local resident, for example) then our anxiety can be immediately relieved. Whether we get it from a map, or a person, or perhaps a combination of these, the point is that we need a vision of the territory if we are ever going to get ‘un-lost’/ found.

Not so long ago I saw a movie where some people were lost in an Amazonian jungle. Although they were hopelessly lost, they got out of their predicament simply by climbing a tall tree and thus they were able to get their bearings. The movie reminded me of an almost identical experience I had many years ago, when I was lost in a rainforest in north Queensland. I had somehow wandered off a walking track in a remote area, and I had no idea where I was. The sun was of no use because it couldn’t be seen through the thick canopy of foliage, and so in that perpetual semi-darkness, I had absolutely no way of knowing which way to go. I may have been lucky enough to head in the right direction, but maybe not. I could have just as easily proceeded deeper and deeper into the forest. My panic was somewhat mitigated however, when I happened to come upon a huge tree, because attached to it, was a  natural ladder made from some thick vines which, (after what must have taken many many years) had gradually grown and encircled the tree from the ground all the way to the top.  Amazingly, I was able to climb this ladder without much difficulty, to a point where I was able to penetrate the forest canopy. Continue reading A Spectacular View